Fos­ter­ing ideas un­locks the true po­ten­tial of IP

In­dus­try ex­perts say patience and nur­tur­ing creativ­ity is the key to fully cashing in on any in­tel­lec­tual property

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HK | ROUNDTABLE - By CHAI HUA and OSWALD CHAN in Hong Kong Con­tact the writ­ers at grace@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Inc ubat­ing creativ­ity by se­cur­ing in­tel­lec­tual property (IP) rights from day one is es­sen­tial for Chi­nese main­land film­mak­ers to max­i­mize rev­enue and re­duce risk, in­dus­try ex­perts told the China Daily Asia Lead­er­ship Round­table in Hong Kong on Fri­day.

The panel dis­cus­sion also echoed the view that con­sol­i­dat­ing IP pro­tec­tion would se­cure de­riv­a­tive earn­ings on top of box of­fice rev­enue, which could sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce busi­ness risks for film­mak­ers.

Emily Dai Ying, web-drama gen­eral man­ager at iQIYI, a Chi­nese in­ter­net chan­nel broad­cast­ing web dra­mas, said IP pro­tec­tion needs to be in­cu­bated for a long-term per­spec- tive to re­al­ize good re­turns.

“We es­tab­lished an in­cu­ba­tion fund of 50 mil­lion yuan ($6.69 mil­lion) to foster orig­i­nal creativ­ity of our web-drama con­tent. We also set up a piracy in­ves­ti­ga­tion team to de­tect any piracy of our web-drama con­tent,” she said.

The round­table fo­rum, themed “Strate­gic IP Man­age­ment in China’s Film and Cre­ative In­dus­tries”, in­vited sev­eral mar­ket play­ers to ex­am­ine the busi­ness po­ten­tial from ad­e­quate IP pro­tec­tion.

“As the main­land be­comes the world’s sec­ond-largest film mar­ket, it has made great strides to pro­pel cul­tural in­flu­ences,” said Zhou Li, pub­lisher and editor-in-chief at China Daily Asia Pa­cific and ed­i­to­rial board mem­ber at China Daily Group.

Box-of­fice rev­enue on the main­land to­taled 44 bil­lion yuan in 2015, with this year’s tak­ings set to be even higher. In first eleven months of this year, box of­fice rev­enue has al­ready reached 42 bil­lion yuan.

How­ever, var­i­ous in­dus­try prac­ti­tion­ers reck­oned that box of­fice in­come may be volatile so that other de­riv­a­tive earn­ings could help cush­ion busi­ness risks.

“The in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion process of the main­land film in­dus­try lasts less than ten years. What the in­dus­try lacks is not tal­ent, cap­i­tal or mar­ket size, but patience. Main­land film­mak­ers just need time to nur­ture their creativ­ity,” as­serted Wil­liam Feng Wei, Greater China head and Asia Pa­cific vice-pres­i­dent at Mo­tion Picture As­so­ci­a­tion, the in­ter­na­tional trade or­ga­ni­za­tion for the Amer­i­can film in­dus­try.

“If there is ad­e­quate IP pro­tec­tion re­gard­ing film con­tent, those de­riv­a­tive earn­ings due to solid IP pro­tec­tion will in­duce even more cap­i­tal in­vest­ment into the main­land film in­dus­try.”

Liu Kailuo, pres­i­dent of Heyi Pictures, the film arm of Youku Tu­dou Inc, be­lieved that in­ter­net-based IP con­tent could bring more im­pact to the rev­enue struc­ture of China’s film­mak­ers.

The pro­por­tion of to­tal rev­enue com­pris­ing box of­fice earn­ings in China re­mained too heavy, he said. But this is im­prov­ing as the ra­tio fell to about 70 per­cent last year, down from 90 per­cent.

“But the box of­fice earn­ings of one of our movies com­posed from an in­ter­net drama ac­counts for only for 40 per­cent of the IP’s to­tal in­come and the other 60 per­cent are from de­riv­a­tives, such as games,” he said, re­fer­ring to the com­pany’s film Sur­prise.

Xiao Fei, board chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive officer at Bei­jing UP Picture Group, said there are many in­no­va­tive meth­ods to man­age IP apart from mak­ing movies and plays.

He said the IP man­age­ment team can com­bine movies and se­ries with other pro­duc­tions, in­clud­ing con­certs and car­toons. The group has held con­certs for its films Mr Six and So Young, and Xiao said au­di­ences of one plat­form can be at­tracted to other en­ter­tain­ment for­mats of the same IP.

He also said while IP trad­ing is rel­a­tively ac­ces­si­ble, IP in­cu­ba­tion re­mains more im­por­tant as a long-term strat­egy and a method to gen­er­ate in­come in the in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion of IP. “And the movies, plays and other de­riv­a­tives could also help im­prove the orig­i­nal sto­ries — which may not be the best — through IP in­cu­ba­tion,” Xiao said.

Li Lei, vice-pres­i­dent at Filmko En­ter­tain­ment Ltd, still be­lieved an in­ter­est­ing story is para­mount, say­ing “other peo­ple will find it dif­fi­cult to copy if you are telling a fan­tas­tic story”.

Other peo­ple will find it dif­fi­cult to copy if you are telling a fan­tas­tic story.” There are many in­no­va­tive meth­ods to man­age IP apart from mak­ing movies and plays.”

CHINA DAILY PHO­TOS BY ROY LIU /

(From left) Li Lei, vice-pres­i­dent of Filmko En­ter­tain­ment Ltd; Xiao Fei, board chair­man and CEO of Bei­jing UP Picture Group; Zhou Li, ed­i­to­rial board mem­ber at China Daily Group and pub­lisher and editor-in-chief at China Daily Asia Pa­cific; Emily Dai Ying, web-drama gen­eral man­ager of iQIYI; mod­er­a­tor Alexan­der Wan, se­nior ad­vi­sor of China Daily Asia Pa­cific; Liu Kailuo, pres­i­dent of Heyi Pictures; Wil­liam Feng Wei, Greater China head and Asia Pa­cific vice-pres­i­dent at Mo­tion Picture As­so­ci­a­tion, pose for pho­tos at a China Daily Round­table Fo­rum themed “Strate­gic IP Man­age­ment in China’s Film and Cre­ative In­dus­tries” in the Hong Kong SAR on Fri­day.

Xiao Fei, board chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive officer at Bei­jing UP Picture Group

Li Lei, vice-pres­i­dent at Filmko En­ter­tain­ment Ltd

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